A Blog from MedPlus Chief Technology Officer Tom Wagner, the healthcare IT Subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics
As you may have read recently, I traveled to Washington D.C. during the week of June 4 with my colleague, Marla Kouche, Vice President, Products and Engineering, to participate in Health Data and Innovation Week. We attended several planned events including the health camp un-conference, the walking gallery and Health Datapalooza.
I was thrilled to attend the events, and found that many participants were full of energy and enthusiasm about new technology coming to the industry. There were great ideas to be shared. While reviewing some of the latest innovations, I found the collaborative discussions especially helpful.
These discussions led to countless questions and many participants offered suggestions for improvements that those of us in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) can help address. It also gave our Care360 team so much to think about and ideas for how we can improve the Care360 Suite of Solutions from Quest Diagnostics.
Three themes resonated with me as I returned to work in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are the expectation and need for increased healthcare transparency, the opportunities that our wealth of Care360 data represents, and the central role of patients in the healthcare landscape.
The issue of transparency, or a lack thereof, has long been a problem in healthcare. However, with the promise of advancing technology and more “liberated” data, there’s a growing ability to understand and compare costs and outcomes that will help improve the lives of patients. Watch this humorous video shared by Castlight Health, which puts this topic into perspective. One of the most impressive tools showcased during innovation week was the iBlueButton® application, which is a set of smartphone and tablet applications that allow for patient-controlled automatic access and the download and transfer of health records. Additionally, the fact that Aetna chose to open up its data set at the event demonstrates how far we have come – as the company now is seeking input and collaboration from beyond its consumer base.
The discussions around data syncing or “mashing of the data” are new ideas in the industry that have truly inspired me. As you may know, interoperability is one of the key functionalities of our Care360 Suite of Solutions (we are proud to be known as one of the founding members of the Direct Project). We strongly believe in the benefits of an open infrastructure, and I was delighted to hear during the conference that it’s also a central goal for others in the industry.
When we consider how to mash-up and sync diagnostic data and medical records from tens of millions of patients within the Care360 network, many with Medicare claims data, there are some powerful insights that can be garnered that could help generate more informed decision-making among physicians in both Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and ambulatory settings. Consider this fact: In February 2012, more than three million real-time alerts were sent to physicians on the Care360 platform, and 2.9 million of those alerts were acted upon. The more data that is available to fuel these alerts, the more empowered physicians will become regarding patient care decisions.
The Central Role of Patients
Patients are now finally where they should be -– at the center of the healthcare spectrum. One example is a full Patient Health Record (PHR) offered via Gazelle, a PHR product that is offered from Quest Diagnostics. It delivers diagnostic results and other information directly to patients, including what the test results mean and helpful tools to manage and track overall health. In addition, Care360 will be placing added attention on creating better doctor/patient engagement over the next year.
The discussions that occurred during the conference, as well as the showcased innovations at Healthcare Datapalooza, made our team even more excited about where Care360 is headed – so stay tuned via our blog or by visiting Care360.com.
Caption: Tom Wagner, Chief Technology Officer for the healthcare IT subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics, talks with Arnub Chatterjee, Special Assistant to the CTO in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.